Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Lovers Key State Park

Fort Myers, Florida

We got up early and headed south to Lovers Key State Park in Fort Myers Beach.   Unfortunately, there is no campground there, but they do have a few work campers staying in their rv’s.  Boy, would I love that gig!

On the way we stopped by Red Coconut Rv Resort.  I had heard about it for years and wanted to check it out.   Wow…what a beautiful view!  The sites are over $100 per night but you have a 10 million dollar view.  The sand was soft and white and the water was fairly clear.  One of these days, we’re going to splurge and stay there! 

The following are the sites on the front row.  You can see they weren’t too crowded right now.  I wish I could explain how nice it “felt” there.  I made Al get out of the car so that he could experience it.  He was just going to sit in the car while I took pictures, but I felt he needed to “feel” it too.  It was a balmy 80 degrees, a light breeze, and you could hear the seabirds off in the distance.  I wish I could have bottled it!  It was kind of like that beer commercial.

Red Coconuts Rv park on Fort Myers beach

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I’ll bet if they dropped their rates a bit, they’d fill up fast!

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We compared this to the beach front campground on the other coast at Flagler Beach and we prefer this one….by far. 

The two coasts of Florida are completely different.  The east/Atlantic coast has big surf and waves The sand is usually darker and not as fine. Its often windier.  The water gets deeper faster.  On the Gulf/west coast the water is calmer.  You rarely have big waves unless there is a storm.  I think the sand is usually whiter and softer than on the Atlantic coast.  It’s more peaceful without the waves crashing against the shore. You can swim without being pounded by the surf.  Of course surfing isn’t good on the gulf coast!  They are both beautiful and each have their own charms, but I really love the Gulf coast of Florida.  Of course for scuba diving, you have to go far offshore, where on the Atlantic coast there are places to dive right from the beach.

After we drug ourselves away from Red Coconuts, we headed south along Fort Myers Beach.  It’s a pretty beach and there were plenty of places that allowed beach access.  It’s a nice little town even though it is very “touristy”.  It  cost $5-6 for all day parking though.  In our opinion Fort Myers beach is much nicer than Sanibel or Captiva.  We were there on Monday and I’ll have to do another post.  We probably won’t go back to Sanibel.

Lovers Key State Park has plenty of places to launch a kayak, but we chose to go to the kayak launch area.  With our state parks pass, we didn’t have to pay the $8 entrance fee…so that was a good thing…especially after all the fees on Sanibel island!

The picture below is of Lovers Key.  I borrowed it from their website.  You can see how great it is for kayaking.

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We have finally figured out the best way to transport our kayaks.  Inflating and deflating them all the time was getting to be a pain.  In fact we were this close to going back to hard kayaks.  Our Sea Eagles won out though because they are so comfortable and we felt we could kayak dive from them much easier than hard kayaks.  We just needed to figure out a way to avoid some of the inflating/deflating hassle.   It really doesn’t take much time to inflate or deflate them, but if you want to kayak every day, it gets to be a chore, and often would prevent us from just throwing them into the water if we found a nice place.

Here is what we do now.  We will inflate them when we get to a new campground.  We can quickly take them off the truck.  They’ll stay inflated until we’re ready to hit the road, then we’ll deflate them and store them in the basement of the motor home. They’ll always be ready to go when we are!

kayaks on top of truck

We had to get the kayak racks set up properly to transport them on the roof.  I don’t think  all Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks can be transported this way, but ours are very sturdy and can safely travel this way.  We’ve had them on the interstate and so far, no problems.

  Don’t try this on your inflatable unless you check with the manufacturer first. 

Our Sea Eagles are the Fast Track model and are made of a different material than some others.

kayaks on top of truck

We launched at the kayak launch and followed the marked paddling trail.

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We didn’t see much wildlife for the first part of the trip, so we went off the marked trail to a little “bird island”.  It had obviously been a roost area.  It was white with Pelican poop and smelled pretty bad!

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Pelican in flight

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Great Blue Heron

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pair of pelicans

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While we were hanging around this little mangrove island watching birds, a couple of dolphin came around and started herding fish.  I only could get one quick photo.

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This other boat was there with us watching for dolphin.  How about this boat.  Notice the slide?

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On the way back to the launch point we saw a couple of manatee.  It turned out to be  a very nice place to paddle and we had an enjoyable day.

After we got the boats loaded, we decided to head to the beach.  Lovers key has a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach, and they offer a free tram to haul you and your stuff down to the beach.

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There are lots of shells and pretty sand.  People don’t realize that beaches change from week to week and year to year.  Many cities “re-nourish” beaches but in my opinion, it’s a waste of money because beaches are going to come and go.  The best thing is to keep the building away from the beaches and let the beaches do their own thing. 

We noticed some of the beaches in this area are a little lacking of sand right now.  That may be still because of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane season that hit Florida very hard.

This beach is very nice, but it changes all the time.

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On the way to the beach is a little estuary area with some interesting critters in the tidal pools.  I’m not exactly sure what this guy is, but he appeared to be walking and feeding in the shallow water.

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It was a beautiful day at Lovers Key State Park.

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We may just head back there today…after all the kayaks are ready to go!  Friday we are meeting with some blogger friends!    

7 comments:

  1. $100 a night is pretty darn steep but what a great view!!!..really nice!

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  2. very costly for a night of camping for sure...great idea on the kayaks..

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  3. Very nice kayak trip. Really glad to read this post and go along vicariously. Can't wait until I can do it for real.

    I too wish they would just let the beaches go their natural way. It's a waste of time, money and energy to try to assert "control".

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  4. For $100/ night you'd think you would get a little more room between sites. You are the second blog I've read that mentions the high cost of Sanibel Island.

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  5. What a beautiful paddle. You are visiting one our favorite places! Wish we were there right now with you.

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  6. Beautiful beach photos, and I think we'd try to stay ONE night at that RV park some day! I don't understand the high rates when parks are not filling their spots!

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  7. Beautiful! Love the beach and the kayaking. Nice idea about keeping the kayaks inflated. Mine is a 330 Sea Eagle and I keep mine inflated when I'm at a site long enough. I put it in the back of my car and run it through to the front seat. More user friendly that way.

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